This weekend Steve’s work celebrated their employees in the coolest way. They took the employees and their significant others on a trip to Chicago and paid for our accommodations and gave us an allowance for the weekend. No strings attached. It was incredible! Me, being the introvert that I am, I was dreading it. Especially with this shiny new rock on my finger I feared having to fake excitement when asked about our engagement and the intimate details of our wedding. I have not been planning this since I was a little girl playing dress up (contrary to what some certain little sisters might say). I don’t have anything nailed down yet, date, venue, dress, flowers, colors…. Nothin’. I don’t giggle or squeal about it when asked. I try to
lie act excited but anyone that knows me sees my nose growing as my wheels go right into processing all the anxiety I have about it.
Instead of being excited about a free vacation I immediately jumped into my pool of anxiety about our wedding. As soon as I got on the bus (we took really nice charter buses) I was at the “no turning back” point. And you know what? I left those anxieties at the building in Michigan that we departed from. I left it like a piece of luggage left at the terminal of an airport. All weekend I had so much fun! We got there and went with some of our group to Eataly. An amazing restaurant, shop, market, Italian EXTRAVAGANZA!!! It’s Mario Batali’s store in Chicago… Don’t know what it is? Look it up. My life is forever changed. Then we came home and crashed early. Because I’m an 80 year old woman trapped in a 27 year old body.
Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn. “Why Steph, you’re on vacation! Why ever did you wake up so early??” you may ask. See the final sentence in the above paragraph. I’M OLD. So we walked downstairs, got our Starbucks (so we could blend in, of course) then we walked across the street to Dunkin Donuts and got our breakfast and sat outside to take in the city. The irony of our consumerism is not lost on us. We had a few laughs at our coffee and sandwich combos. It was perfect. Then we spent the whole day walking. We walked to the Navy Pier. We walked to Millennium Park. We walked to Northwestern’s Campus. We walked to some crazy overpass. We walked in circles and when we didn’t think we could walk, we walked more. Then we wanted burgers for lunch, we finally found this place, Epic Burger right across the street from our hotel (Steve knew exactly where it was, I have NO sense of direction). After lunch, which we enjoyed outside, we went back for a quick break. We uploaded photos and caught up on some football scores and then we went back out to Millennium Park, then the board walk and then finally back for another quick re-grouping. We ended our night at Timothy O’Toole’s for dinner and drinks. I have an addiction to Irish Pubs. So that was fantastic!
Sunday we walked around for another hour before brunch, We ate at Weber’s Grill and then we went back out and walked around for another hour and a half and then we were loaded up and on our way back home. And you know what? The only time I really felt the weight of our wedding planning was when I saw 5 separate brides on Saturday. I saw 5 brides in different locations in different dresses and I wasn’t envious of them at all. It was a weird feeling of appreciating it from the outside without any feelings of jealousy, envy, sadness or anxiety. The city is beautiful, but it isn’t my choice background for my wedding day. All I could imagine is that for that day, those women felt like models shooting the cover of a bridal magazine. And they deserve it. After the amount of planning it takes and the money it would take to have your wedding in a place like downtown Chicago, they deserve to feel that way. You go girls!
This morning when a co-worker and close friend asked me about my weekend I could sigh with relief that it was actually just what we needed. We had a blast! And instead of being “the bride-to-be and groom-to-be” we were back to being just Steve and Steph. And that was so fantastic! It made me feel such happiness. I think that this trip is exactly what the doctor ordered for me. So future brides, take note: If you’re like me and cringe at tool, choreographed line ups and forced toasts and consider yourself “the anti-bride”, take someone’s advice when that someone close to you tells you to close your frilly bridal planner (that is most likely pink or purple) and walk away! All things will not crumble and fall down, no matter where you are in the process. Walk away for a weekend!!! It will do you and your fiance some good to just breathe.
Now that we’re back and the reality of it all is starting to sit back down upon us, we are going to make time to sit and discuss it, the best we can and take it as it comes. That’s all we can do. Until then, I have to have faith that it will be just fine and that at the end of the day, it’s for everyone else. I could walk into a courthouse with my man and leave a Mrs. and be just as happy. Keep that in perspective.